A Message from the BIOMES Team

BIOMES is a culmination of efforts by a community of artists, scientists, researchers, lecturers, practitioners, communicators and designers with passion for the natural world. Their efforts have resulted in a venture like no other - an online exhibition that is both a celebration of biodiversity and a call to action. We all have a place on the planet - explore, cherish and protect. 

Alex Callen

Science Project Manager & Curator

BIOMES is a gentle oasis in a tumultuous period of human occupation of planet earth. It is my hope that BIOMES brings your place on the planet to life. Each piece of art is a voice for our biodiversity – created by incredibly talented artists who see a world of promise arising from a crisis in conservation. Our artists have been supported in their endeavours by a team of scientists, policy makers and land stewards who believe it is the community who are the ultimate decision-makers about the future of nature – our biomes. This includes our sponsors and supporters who make daily decisions about the future ecology of our region with the nexus of community and biodiversity at the forefront of their minds. An enthusiastic and dedicated design and communications team has maintained the ethos of BIOMES as it transformed from a physical exhibition to its present digital format in record time and dovetailed with the Ars Electronica International Festival, In Kepler’s Gardens. The future is now – every little thing matters, and BIOMES celebrates the opportunity that each of us has to contribute to the conservation of our amazing natural world.  

Bernadette Drabsch 

School of Creative Industries Project Manager & Curator

To me, BIOMES is an opportunity to give back and to make a difference.  As an academic and scientific  illustrator, I love to tell stories, and in this case the stories couldn’t be more important.  BIOMES is a story of wonderment and the beauty of nature.   It is a wake-up story, one that makes us stop and take stock of the damage we are doing. It is a personal story of engagement, focusing on the things we can do differently. It is a story of hope for the future of our biodiversity.  Art and science belong together, and I’m incredibly proud to be part of such an amazing collaborative team, all of whom are passionate about protecting our beautiful biodiversity. 

Michelle Kelly 

Science Art Communication Lead and Mentor

BIOMES is a beautiful culmination of science and art focused on one of the big issues facing our society today. The topic of biodiversity is one close to the hearts of many Australians, even more so after witnessing the 2019/2020 bushfire season. This is not a problem unique to Australia of course, with fires also occurring in the Amazon Rainforest and California, devastating our global biodiversity.  It is these big issues that face our communities that make rare collaborations like the one here, bringing together ecologists to understand the science, psychologists to understand the role of people in both the problem and in the solution, and artists to communicate the science in a beautiful, creative and palatable way, that will allow us to make a difference in this world. While this topic is close to my heart, what brings me to this project is my passion for communicating science through art, and art through science. Tackling the big issues facing the world requires a depth of understanding, that each of us alone do not have, and that it is not possible to achieve within one discipline alone. 

Simone O’Callaghan

Exhibition & Experience Design 

As a designer, I feel that I have a responsibility to ensure that the design projects I work on have some social, cultural or environmental benefit to others, so it has been a honour to work with the the fantastic artists and scientists on BIOMES  who all share a passion for biodiversity, conservation and the environment. The need for people to engage in protecting biodiversity has never been more pertinent than now, as time is running out for us to protect what we have and rebuild what we have lost to ensure sustainability for future generations. In this amazing collaboration between art and science and technology, I have learnt so much and thank the team for including me in this fascinating  journey. 

Lynette Plenderleith 

Science Communicator 

Never before have we so badly needed biodiversity and all its beauty and benefits. BIOMES offers an opportunity for immersion in innovative and creative reflections on our place in the world and a chance to connect with nature. Being on the BIOMES team has given me the chance to celebrate biodiversity and the people who work to protect it. 

Kristefan Minski 

Producer and manager: Ars Electronica Garden Newcastle  

Producer: CQC Newcastle 

Partnering with the BIOMES team and FASTLab as the main collaborators for the Ars Electronica Garden Newcastle has been an inspiring and rewarding experience. After more than 10 years working with Ars Electronica in Austria, it makes me very excited to see this kind of initiative happening in Newcastle, a place I fondly called home for many years during my undergraduate study. I passionately believe in the potential of art-science collaboration and the beneficial impact it can have on the society and our shared future. BIOMES is a wonderful initiative and for me a very progressive and positive sign for Newcastle’s future. Our garden grew very quickly from a small idea to a full program in a short amount of time and I’m very grateful for the University of Newcastle’s support. Seeing how the team adapted to the challenges and disruptions of Covid is a testimony to the resilient and creative spirit of this place.  

Pauline Dunne 

Team Leader

Community Engagement Hunter Central Coast 

Department of Planning  Industry and Environment

BIOMES 2020: An inspirational collaboration driven by committed passionate artists, students, academics, communicators and scientists. A vision to represent the Hunter’s biodiversity, its conservation and threats. The ideas and projects evoke our love for the environment, talk to our unity with nature, provoke our curiosity and ask us to care for our place on the planet. 

Freddy Herrera

Assistant Regional Operations Officer

Community Engagement Hunter Central Coast

Department of Planning  Industry and Environment 

In ecology, a biome represents a community of flora and fauna. BIOMES has extended this idea to highlight and represent that it will take all of us doing just a little bit as a community (even in a socially distant world) to help conserve our world.    

Eva Twarkowski 

Acting Team Leader Community Engagement 

Hunter Local Land Services 

BIOMES showcases the biodiversity values of the major forests, coast and wetland environments unique to the Hunter Region. BIOMES is an opportunity for collaboration, communication and increasing awareness of our valuable natural assets. Aboriginal cultural heritage is integral to understanding, valuing and managing these biomes. The visual interactive activities and call to action is a gateway to experiencing and actively engaging in the protection and management of these special environments.  

Henrietta Mooney 

Regional Landcare Coordinator – Hunter Region Landcare Network 

We hope that this BIOMES collective community re-energises human connections with the natural world around us, celebrating diversity, creativity and freedom. By learning and developing a personal connection to the natural world, we can improve our relationships with each other. It’s important to do whatever you can right now for healthy landscapes and healthy people and build on that; get involved in conservation starting in your own home, your backyard, become a guardian of our flora and fauna. Never underestimate the power of community, as Kelly and Carmody wrote “from little things, big things grow”. It only takes a handful of people to change the course of our future. 

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